Barnes Foundation Philadelphia Opening Press Preview – New Parkway Campus Features Stunning Architecture and Landscaping

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The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia unveiled its long-awaited, eagerly-anticipated new campus at 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, during its Opening Press Preview on Thursday, May 17, 2012. The majestic, 4.2 acre campus, located in the heart of the city’s major cultural corridor, is a stunning new addition to the Parkway’s considerable offerings. It will undoubtedly become a mecca for art lovers from all over North America and the world.

Of course, even while it was in suburban Merion, on the Main Line, the Barnes Foundation already possessed the largest private art collection in America. But its new home offers amenities and opportunities that far, far outpace anything it could offer in Merion. The number of visitors each year will exponentially increase.

more will be able to see the collection. There is a beautiful outdoor café and an indoor restaurant, where you can have lunch. There’s an entire section devoted to the life and work of Barnes himself. Elevators permit visitors easier access to the additional floors. The core educational mission of the Barnes is facilitated by a 150-seat auditorium (with leather seating), state-of-the-art flat-screen classrooms and studios.

The most remarkable aspect of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, is the architect’s success in making us feel as if we were in an idyllic oasis, and not in the heart of the city. When you arrive, you walk along a reflecting pool, lined with an allee (not a typo!) of red maple trees, a nod to its former home. Right before you enter, at an intersection of two rows of maples, you see an abstract sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly – hailed as one of the great masters of contemporary art – which stands at a towering 40-foot height.

Known as The Barnes Totem, its significance is explained by Derek Gillman, Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation: "Created in the great tradition of monumental sculpture, The Barnes Totem works with its surroundings to focus and heighten one's sense of being in a special place, while at the same time presents a dramatic artistic statement of great strength, beauty and integrity."

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